Home Greater Manchester Free workplace mental health programme “Balls to That” launched for businesses across...

Free workplace mental health programme “Balls to That” launched for businesses across the North West

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(L-R) Jack Leech, Craig Monaghan, Jamie Knowlson and CheckdMedia co-founder Lee Struggles

The Sale Sharks Community Trust has launched a groundbreaking new mental health awareness programme designed to promote wellbeing in workplaces right across the North West.

The free of charge ‘Balls to That’ sessions will see coaches from the award-winning Trust, including Afghanistan army veteran Craig Monaghan, educating staff in businesses across the region on what they can do to support one another and make improvements to their own mental health.

The programme also aims to help business leaders recognise how they can better support their staff in both their working and private lives.

Project Officer Craig suffered from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and attempted to take his own life following his medical discharge from the army.

And, as part of the free hour-long sessions, he will talk about his ongoing mental health challenges, what he’s doing to overcome them and his journey from the battlefield to the England Deaf Rugby side.

Craig first got involved with Sharks through the Community Trust’s veterans’ programme ‘Sharks Forces’ – and his story inspired almost 40 staff at CheckdMedia, in Manchester, during the first session of the new programme.

Sharks Community Rugby Coach Jack Leech said: “Listening to Craig share his story, and seeing the genuine impact it has on people first hand, is incredibly inspiring. It can shape lives and challenge perceptions.

“If we can help more people recognise their own difficulties and identify the signs and symptoms, then this programme could really make a difference.

“We know how pressurised some workplaces can be, but hopefully hearing Craig’s story can give people in business – whether they’re CEOs or apprentices – some perspective and offer some ideas to improve mental health.”

Jamie Knowlson, CEO at CheckdMedia, added: “Craig has an unbelievable story. It is informative and inspirational and it offered us fantastic insight into how we can provide our team with the support they need. We want to make the environment at CheckdMedia one in which mental health isn’t a taboo subject, and this programme has helped us do that.”

Jonny Acheson, Executive Director at the Sale Sharks Community Trust, said: “We came up with the idea for ‘Balls to That’ because, in many workplaces, mental health simply isn’t discussed.

“Now we’ve launched the programme, we’re keen to work with other businesses across the North West to break down any notion of mental health being a taboo topic and to give them and their staff some guidance on how they can support each other.

“The sessions are run totally free of charge and we know we can make a real, and lasting difference, so if you feel that your business would benefit from Balls to That, please do get in touch.”